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THE STARS OF THE TRIP
I WILL POST THE PHOTO`S ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,SOON,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Past Hannover,, into Goor ,, fix bikes ,,, On Boat,,,, Home ,,,,JUST LIKE THAT
Back in in Berlin for the third time,
I first rode to Berlin in 1983 then it was well behind the IRON CURTAIN it was up till now the most scary ride i had done ,lots of men in big hats with bigger guns , i had my bike taken off me 3 times only so they could close the road off to use as there personal drag strip , but give them there due when they came back on my bike WITH GREAT BIG GRINS ON THERE FACES they kept the traffic back and told me to open the throttle WIDE.
Berlin then was a city in contrast one half all modern and in colour , the other all Barbed wire ,wall , and in black and white ,
i came back on my eastern block ride in 2009 to a totaly different city
Here i am again glad off all the modern western things but sad to think like all modern western citys the friendly-ness has also gone (unless you have millions of euro`s of course ) tomorrow we leave for Hannover and then on to Goor in the Netherlands were we will fix the bikes good enough to get us home
SO LIKE THE LAST NIGHT IN EVERY CITY SO FAR , ITS OUT ON THE PISS, YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENCE ....
scratch that, to a wet Berlin night, with an Asian meal in a wet metro staion, a warm cup of coffie and a twix bar then off to bed ,, OH NOOO WET TRAM LINES IN THE MORNING , that will be more stunt riding from me then! (at least i will have a big crowd here)
ANNIA`S LOVERLY COUNTRY ,i will catch up on all the blogs when i am not so effin knackered ,,,,,,,, ALL ROADS NOW LEAD TO BERLIN THEN HOME
Sorry Annia only here 2 days this time, just enough time for H`s bike to finaly finish off all his sprockets and chain , and blow his rear shock , just limping into Berlin now
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
another great supprise what a beautiful country,,, but we are only passing through, I WILL BE BACK,
BOY did we have problems getting here
the minute we left Moscow H`s bike started to play up it would not start (flat battery) and when running would not go over 70 click an hour , every time it stopped we had to push it or jump start it from my bike , after about 4 hours we pulled into a car parts shop, we put my spare rectifier on H`s bike (his own was at home on the living room floor with everthing else) bought some jump leads so at least we could start the bastard thing,
Another night in a field brought us to within 200km of the border, but just as we pulled onto the road H`s bike pulled the valve out of the front inner tube ,as luck would have it just as the first crash of thunder and rain hit the road, OH HOW HE LAUGHED , i was just glad it wasn`t me...
all fixed and through the Latvian border in quick time and good tarmac FOR THE FIRST 2 KM , THEN DIRT , but they were just playing with us good roads all the way after that , H managed to get a battery and all was well for a little while.
Latvia is loverly
MOSCOW is a monster of a city and oh boy have they embraced capitalism they are out yanking the yanks , who ever thought you would get the chance to stand in RED SQUARE
Why is it every -were we put down for a few days , the last day we always end up with a head so fat it won`t fit in OUR helmets , this time the germans found us , telling us how great our trip was ( thats german for you dum old fucks )and filling us full of beer , gin , and wine . OH HOW WE LUV IT !till in the morning when we start the 3 day ride to the Latvian border (ah how i just love sleeping under bushes AGAIN)
After a hot sweaty night covered in deet hiding in my tent from the 20 billion mozzies that had been assigned as my personal tormenters, i woke only to find i had still been bitten to shit ,, GENTLEMEN TIRED OF ALL THOUGHS E/MAILS PROMISING YOU A LARGER PENIS , WELL FOLLOW THE GUARANTEED SIBERIAN PLAN, AND YOU TO CAN BE A PORN STAR,,,,, FIRST TAKE YOUR SPADE AND DIG YOUR SLIT TRENCH TO GO THE LOO,,,, NEXT DROP PANT, AND DO YOUR TOILET , MEAN WHILE MR MOZZIE DOES HIS JOB ON THE DANGLEY BITS!!! LEAVE ONE HOUR TO COOK IN PANTS , AND THE RESULTS ARE TRUELY SPECTACULAR, NOW IF ONLY I COULD FIND SOMEONE TO SCRATCH THIS FEEKIN ICH,,,,HEENNRRY
we were only 2 or 3 clicks from the border ,
Things got a bit sticky when they could not find our Kyrgyz visa in our passports (we have 2 ) pulling out our second passports (something we have tryed not to do incase it got them all confused) WHY YOU HAVE TWO PASSPORTS THE MAN IN THE VERY BIG HAT SAID , er er ! one for tourist , one for business said i, OH,,, OH OK said the man in the very big hat ````problem over ```
Then up popped Anton ` a Russian biker ` HI GUYS ! WERE YOU FROM THEN! England said we ,OK I WILL STICK AROUND AND HELP OUT said Anton ,,,,,once were through the border Anton gave us his phone number as we were planning to stay in his home town 250 clicks away , (and he could not ride as slow as us) so off we poodle, only to jump out of our skins as Anton the human missile screamed passed at the speed of lightriding along watching all the strange white birch trees that seam to be in big blocks like new housing estates , really odd after the empty Kazakhstan steppe
The crossing into kazakhstan was very simple the Kyrgyz arn`t arsed and are happy to let you be on your way and onto the kazakhstan borderpost. Border crossing now has just become part of normal life instead of the scary experiance it used to be
we have a maximum of 5 days to cross Kazakhstan other wise we will have to register with the imagration police again , so throttles open and out over the steppe
These were the only pretty camels we have seen on the trip,
``OH MY GOD DID I JUST SAY THAT,,, I HAVE BEEN ON THE ROAD TO LONG !!!
Three wild camps later and very very smelly we are on the last leg towards russia .I KNOW I AM LOOKING VERY RAGGED ROUND THE EDGES ,, BUT,,, WITH A BIT OF AIR BRUSHING DO YOU THINK THE VERY PRETTY CAMEL ON THE LEFT MIGHT COME OUT ON A DATE ?
There are thousands of memorials along the side of the road all over central Asia but we have only see two bike ones , we stopped at this one and left a motoloco badge with the poor guy
Dont go to OSH the British goverment screamed ,,, DANGER! DANGER ,,, The tit`s !!one of the most friendly places we have visited ,,,,
Kyrgyzstan was a real change, they have ROADS, and it`s green, mind you things that are green come with a price RAIN , winding through the mountain passes looking at the hill peoples way of life while riding on tarmac was such a welcome change , a couple of wild camps one by a very nice lake so we could swim saw us arrive in OSH, first stop change some money ,second stop roast chicken vendor at the side of the road , great women she came over and gave us a cup of coffie each ,
Then a young lad passed by who could speack english, and gave us directions to a hotel HOTEL BEIJING, is situated right in the heart of the biggest BAZZAR we have seen so far and was great , we stayed 4 days we were having such a good time
The hotel receptionist Gulmira gave up here day off to show us round and practice her English THANKS MIRA , Henry has your photo and will post it on his blog .
The hotel was also worried about our bikes parked outside so in stepped the supermarket manager and found us a place in the shop ,
We left OSH for Bishkek a couple of days ride away, so off over the mountains again , there are big mountain people settlements up in the passes, and it was great to see all the yurts and horses (oh and the sat dishes and merc`s)
Bishkek is a modern city we were quite lost when we arrived , but luck was with us again i called in a office to ask if they new of a hotel the woman looked at me like i was from mars then said in perfect english ACTUALLY i now some one who rents apartments, quick phone call later we were sorted , all we had to do now was find it (used the old pay a taxi and follow it trick ), lots of shoping for prezzies for everyone , and set up the tech for the horizons `live on the road` session .that seamed to go quite well .
Bishkek was the turning point for home as we had run out of time to make it to the naadam festival in Mongolia so the new route home is Astana in Kazakhstan straight north into west siberia Russia, turn left for a long way, over the ural mountains ,hang a right for even longer till we hit Moscow,, up abit, left abit till we hit Latvia, take a left into Lithuania, Poland. do BERLIN and home we think it will take 5 or 6 weeks so that should get us home mid August.
We finally made it down the mountain pass completly knackered and that most wonderfull of sights A TARMAC ROAD the road came the easy way over the mountains, why didn`t we think of that ! an hour later and we passed a village with a b&b sign, thanking the sky god we pulled in and were made instantly welcome by the Tajiki family that ran it.
Off we went in the morning only to stop many times trying to get a good photo of the bloody marmmets who are about the size of wood cats bright tiger orange fur, black nose`s and ears, and a black tipped tail, cute as a button, but can though`s bastards run , Henry finaly managed to get some vid of one leggin it
OH AND OUR FIRST YAK`S
a good days ride saw is in Mughrab and a not to bad bunk house , spent a couple of days here as my arse fell out ,
feeling much better we set off to Kyrgyzstan along the chinese border , we got caught by a snow storm at 11,000 ft, but finally the road started again so we could lose some hight quickly, the view over the lake was as every thing out here is !stunning ! and we saw a water spout rise over the lake ,
The road finally ended and we were back to rocks upto the border ,we had a bit of trouble with the customs over the bikes , as the border we entered at, did it on computer and did not issue forms , here the had never seen a pc , but in the end the exepted our insurance forms instead,, sailed through the rest (you realy have to be on your commanding officers shit list to be sent here , you can definetly call this posting bum fucks vill )
No mans land between the two borders is about 20km of slippy down hill mud what a reception at the Kyrgyzstan border everthing off the bikes , and the bastard guard dog ran of with my boil in the bag sticky toffie pudding (the twat i was saving that for when i was feeling pissed off)
Coming so close to the Afghan boarder was a bit of a shock i hadn`t expected it to be so close (could not quite throw a stone over to it ) we could easly shout to each other and wave as we often did over the next 5 days,
The road to kharog, (I was Bob Hope, Henry was Bing Crosby, a very pritty YAK played Dorothy Lamour) did not realy exist for most of the way they had just blown a track out of the cliff face , i did more of my stunt riding this time going through river crossings, one was spectacularly bad as my bike went vertical into a bolder field and i ended up 20ft from the river. Force field body armour saved the day (and also being bendy helped), as i was trapped under the bike with petrol pissing out all over me we had no time for the photo shot (pity it was the best so far) anyway the road Kharog takes you right to the Afgan border then follows it , after a too long day we found a nice camp spot by a 3 house road stop were they did realy nice food ,,,,, we decided to spend some time here as there was a fresh water spring and by now our ride kit was so smelly we scared the locals (and it takes a hell of a lot to scare a Tajiki) so the next day was big doby day.
THE GIRLS WERE DESPERATE TO HAVE THERE PHOTO TAKEN BUT IT WAS TOTALY TABOO, BUT GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS AND THEY MANAGED TO SNEAK OVER AND DO IT SECRETLY
While lazing about in the afternoon the locals came running over and told us to take cover !!!!! several loud explosions followed on the Afghan side and were were treated to a nice shower of rocks , the following day got more exiting!!! As some of you know when it gets hot i like to protect my baldy head from the sun by tying a scarf Arab style round my head, being now some what brown like the locals, some truck drivers came over to me shouting Mujahideen,Mujahideen and making gun type noises ,, i said were they shouted you you!! run army coming ME! NO MATE JUST TOURIST, just about draged the scarf off my head as two army patrols turned up from both ends of the Road-stop, Then it realy got exiting! after about an hour of the army being there they shouted us to take cover and started to run and yes more explosions and showerd by shrapnel but this time the bastards shredded my tent (At leased i had chance to grab my camera and get the vid) we had the same later on in the day but this time we had two belgium cyclists with us , the girl was very alarmed !!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3mApKEokuk click on link to see vid
We met these guys at 10,000ft not sure if they were rebels but we think they were the goverment troops, thought best not to ask (they were very friendly though)
After leaving our road camp we had tarmac to Kharog so we were there late morning , we moved on to the Wakhan valley, OH BOY DID LIFE GET EVEN HARDER, the road started off easy and suckered you in after about 50km the road surface stopped and it all turned to sand , gravel, rocks pebbles , snooker balls , marbels everything you can think of , AND YES MORE STUNT RIDING FOR ME ,
We ran out of energy about 7pm and just pulled over in a small village ,,,,, And out of the bushes jumped a bunch of Russian Ornithologists! all women !who invited us to tea , they were very exited about finding some thing very RARE called a large billed reed warbeler `` we said it TASTED VERY NICE!
The locals were out to see us off in the morning
GIRLS ALOUD featuring ronan keating.
On the road before 6am and travelling along the valley floor (at 8000ft), we got our first view of the Hindu kush and a hint of the splender to come
Once we reached the end of the valley floor, then the hard work realy began, we were treated to a track that started with half a dozen hairpin bends and a 1 in 4 angle up,,, made of every type of river cobble you can think of and a 1000ft drop just to keep it interesting!!!all you could do was hope you didn`t (1) LOOSE TRACKTION (2) MISS A GEAR (3) FALL OVER BACKWARDS (4)MEET A 60 TON TRUCK as its only single track (5) SHIT YOURSELF but we were doing that any way. THE NEXT SIX HOURS WERE THE HARDEST OF MY LIFE !!!!!!!BUT WHAT A VIEW OF THE HINDU KUSHWE MET THE CYCLE NUTS ON THE WAY DOWN FROM 15,400 FT IT HAD TAKEN THEM A WEEKAND YES THEY WERE ENGLISH
!!!!!!! IF THE SIX HOURS UP WERE THE HARDEST OF MY LIFE """""THEN THE FOUR HOURS DOWN WERE THE HARDEST OF MY LIFE TOO!!!!!
The road from kazkh to uzbekistan was about 140km of torn up road, sand and gravel , H had a great laugh watching my veriouse fantastic stunts (commonly called nearly falling off) but the good thing was i am now the top kazakhstan off road stunt king ,,,, I ended up changing my tires in the desert not easy in 40c.
crossing in uzbekistan was fairly stright forward if a bit time consuming , once were through it was all desert for about 400km we were trying to make it to Nukus but failed, so spent a very tired night in a farmers field (a hairy thing to do in a police state)
hit Nukus early in the morning and found one of the two hotels you could register in, a few days rest followed and we found some fuel on the black market as all the official stations in this area are closed
Off to Kheva
anyway we got to Bukhara and bumped straight into Tiffany coates
NEXT STOP SAMARQAND
easy ride with some tarmac for a change , found a hotel ok and went for a walk to look at the registan , cannot express how utterly stunning it is to see it for the first time
oh a henrys thumb is quite good to
STUCK IN TASHKENT NOW TRYING TO GET THE HELL OUT OF UZBEKISTAN ,,,, WE CAN SEE THE PAMIER MOUNTAINS
The crossing from the Ukraine to russia was great we traveled on the ferry from Kurch to Russia and onto Dagastan it cost about £15 , we were quite worried about what we would encounter when we got there , all we found was great people there was very little traffic at this boarder so this is the way to go , they even gave us our own girl to help us fill in all the forms , we didnt actualy know we were heading for Dagastan at the time we just new it was Russia , the first day saw us riding through a great big delta area so many river crossing we cannot remember ,we found a room by a truck stop and were glad of a good nights sleep , (roads sofar are good ) next day we rode a great open plain for about 400 mile again good tarmac, a long day saw us camping in a field with a good army boil in the bag meal in us , a quick check of oil levels on the bike and a sound nights sleep.
Up early and off to the near by village for a quite coffie , or so we thought !the coffie shop owner was a russian Dell Boy and had phoned the media , we came out to all the local reporters and photogrophers ,wanting pic`s and interviews , not being used to fame our minds were not in gear ,,,,,,,
Back to the real world , which means YES YOU GUEST IT 10 clicks down the road getting reamed by the police AGAIN
After we settled down for a long ride over what can only be described as russian steppe, about 420 clicks down the same main road it ended , they just hadn`t built the last section , so a wild camp outside the village and attack the dirt track first thing in the morning.
The dirt lasted about 40k and i loved every minute of it (later found out my bike was shit on the soft stuff though)
early afternoon saw is in Astrakhan and a posh hotel so we could register our visas.
we planned on staying in the city longer but being conference session our second hotel room fell through,,,, 22clicks out of town we stopped for a cold drink and met zulafia who worked in the shop, she spoke good english and informed us it was also a road house and we were only 40k from the kazakhstan border , so that was us sorted we stocked up with food had a shower put the bikes round the back and gave them a wash ,,,, then just relaxed and watched the traffic go by (drank beer)
zula supplied us with as much information as she could find out (thanks Zula)
for the first time i felt we were properly ready for a border crossing
DID I SAY WE ARE SHITTING OUR SELVES ,,,, WELL WERE NOT ANYMORE !!!!!
Well the trip to the crimea was a bit mixed , but good riding , we ended up wild camping in a nature reserve, but just before we turned in for the night a guy appeared , this sort of took the relaxed atmosphere away as nether of us could understand one another, i told H (who is not used to wild camping ) to sleep light tonight and get out of the tent if any one turns up again , what i laugh i had at the state o Henry in the morning , he told me he sat up most off the night face-ing the tent door a can of mace in one hand and an entrenching tool in the other listening to me snoor (HE HE HE)
next day off to Balaclava . The welcome from the border guards was great , just welcomed us in and told us to have a nice time , the crimea is totaly different, the police are more relaxed and the roads are much better , we found the monument to the charge of the light brigade .while we were there we thought we saw a camp site in the distance (this turned out to be an enduro race ) the lads were made up to see us , none More than Vitalik who was to spend the next 2 days showing us around and sorting us out (a lot more about this will be posted soon) Thank mate , i am having problems uploading photo`s at the moment .
A big thank you to Constantine of the night Wolves for all the hospitality they have a great place and you want to see the custom show they have planned ,
DID I SAY ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
For all you that are interested we are in Astrakhan on the caspian sea Russia
not any more we are in kazakhstan my blog is behind because i have to look after the picture site and the vids
NOT THERE ANY MORE IN BUKHARA IN UZBEKISTAN ,,, site gets an update tomorrow
The border crossing was not to bad , but they wanted us to leave the bikes and walk through to get the insurance , the last guard made a call, then sent us back , then they let us through , Off to L`viv , roads as crazy as ever L`viv has 800 year old cobble stones polished to perfection , 100 year old tram lines , and every thing is collapsing , when wet it makes a strong man cry, great time in the city and guess what it was raining when we left (and yes i was crying) i managed a complete flit from one side to the other at a tram stop , and just caught the bike on the way down
Next two days were shit as we were reamed by the police at every chance they got (we had to bribe them to get our documents back) the locals took pity on us and told us the scams they use , a big thanks has to go to the chief who cooked us a great meal , and made us feel much better about the Ukraine , (details will be posted soon )
And then to odessa
After a trip to the beach at Odessa we were off following the coast
east again , we passed a great big millitary base with row upon row
of helicopter gunships,(best not to take pictures) we headed for a no existant bridge and ended
up having to go around the many inlets instead. After many a false
hopes of a wild camp we went down a long dirt track, through a village
that looked like it came straight out of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF,we then
pitched tents on the best flat spot 20 meters from the sea (this turned
out to be the village football pitch ) after a few sticky moments with
the village elders everyone decided it was good to have English travellers
to stay. Then the kids turned up so out came the sweets, lots of photo`s
with everyone on the bike, and teenagers played football round the camp
(lots of young ones are tought english at school so when the shyness
wheres off they like to practice it) we had a bit of a bad night sleep
because the word was out "TRAVELLERS ON THE BEACH" so everyone from local
villages turned up , we were going too stay 2 nights but thought better
off it as tomorrow was saturday EVERYONE WOULD COME TO SEE US
As we packed up one of the young lads turned up with eggs and milk still
warm from the cow given to us for our trip. GREAT!
DID I TELL YOU WE ARE SHITTING OUR SELVES
The ride to Leipzig was done in the rain with henry constantly falling behind , when we finaly had time to stop it turned out he was having terrible tank slappers at about 60mph , he moved spare tires forwards and this helped to cure the problem.
As with any big trip, weight is always going to be a problem
Next day saw us off to Poland , I LOVE POLAND! The old Poland, The soviet Poland and the New, all seam to live side by side i always get the feeling that i am finally going east when i get here
old border crossing------------------------ don`t care if it is happy, going into a
porta-loo has never put a smile on my face.
The first nights stop was in the city of Wroclaw , after visiting the old Russian cemetary we got a taxi in the old square, sunk a few beers and bumped into an expat from bootle , Rob and his wife Pasha we had a beer and a piss-takeing session and got an invite from pasha for a free breakfast at there`s , last minute though Pasha remembered that Rob had an early morning flight (bummer).
Off to camp at Auschwiz in the morning, always seams odd camping there.
on from there to the salt mines at Krakow i have been before but Henry wanted to see them, i was bored stupid (or mybe i am always stupid) just as i said "looks like the hottest day yet " the Electric storm started , nice with a great big lightning rod on the back of your bike . wet ride for the rest of the day H found a campsite just when we needed it (good lad)
got a nice cup of tea from a brit campervan in the morninig they had been traveling 18 months with still some places to go , OFF TO THE UKRAINE BORDER
DID I SAY WE ARE SHITTING OURSELVES
Thank God For Eggie`s House
After a very nervous ride through the forest, saw us safely at Dino`s and Eggie`s house , as soon as i saw Dino i fell into her arms and wept like a baby WHY IS THAT BAD MAN MAKING ME GO TO MONGOILIA ! she soothed my brow and said `dont worry eggie will sort everthing ` Then kicked my arse and told me to be a MAN, (oh and also handed me a cold beer)
Eggie is a star not only did he fix the long list of things on Henry`s bike but he also found time to make a fork brace to stiffen my forks , while this was happening i moved my top box and tire rack four inches forwards this also ment i had to cut the seat down , after a good days work i took the bike out for a test ride WHAT A DIFFERENCE it was actualy like riding a bike not a snake , 2 more days saw henry sorted out and all the shopping done . I also way about a stone more because Dino kept tempting me with more food and saying "Go on Zebb have another one you don`t no when you will get another " I have a vision of being in Magadan weighing 25 stone and H saying HAVE ANOTHER CAKE ZEBB YOU DON`T NO WHEN WE WILL GET ANOTHER .
Time to leave
DID I SAY I AM SHITTING MYSELF
Shit we are still two visa`s short and only 20 days to go. Henrys bike is not on the road, fook, fook fook ,
Were did all the prep time go!
Just got a call from scotts visas saying Kyrgyzstan visa starts when its stamped at the embassy in London so we now have to get a 3 month one, The Mongolian visa will have catch up with us in the Ukraine, so much for the plan of leaving with all the paperwork sorted (i`am a bloody expert at eastern paperwork NOW).
At leased by bike is sorted
ok 3days to go still, no missing visas
1 DAY TO GO STILL, NO MISSING VISAS
!OK THE MORNING WE GO STILL NO MISSING VISAS!
4 HOURS TO GO few just got the ok that the visas will catch up with us in Tashkent in Uzbekistan
time to change my underpants
WELL I THOUGHT WE WERE , we got 200 yards when H had a panic attack over his doc`s, 2 mile later my bike is pissing oil out of the tank because i hadn`t put the cap on properly~" WHAT A MUPPET "
DID I SAY WERE SHITTING OURSELVES!
I THOUGHT I SAID THE BIKE WAS SORTED!
well that soon turned to a bag of shit the minute i went off tarmac at marjo`s and andre`s. the forks flexed all over the place and the weight was all too far back (it was so much fun that H decided to put the gopro on his hat for the return event) Twat thought i would come off. much thanks to Andre and Marjo for the beer and hospitality, also for the great ride through the National Park .